Mercy and St. Mary's gear up for showdown for Catholic title, No. 1 Magic rips John Carroll

Saints top Seton Keough

Girls basketball

March 02, 1997|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

The area's No. 1 ranking will be on the line this afternoon when top-rated Mercy and No. 2 St. Mary's meet for the Catholic League Tournament championship. The top-seeded Magic (25-2) had an easy time dispensing with No. 6 John Carroll, 70-49, in its semifinal last night at Spalding. St. Mary's (23-4) had a little more trouble overcoming No. 3 Seton Keough, 57-46, in a physical, defensive game.

Both teams are ready for the showdown, 3 p.m. today at Spalding.

"I think the game is going to be close," said Mercy point guard Shannon Cohen, whose team lost to St. Mary's in the semifinals last year. "To win, we have to do it together as a team. Since we've been No. 1, we've been playing together and I think that's going to be the key."

Even though the Saints never trailed after the first three minutes and led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, they couldn't shake defending champ Seton Keough until the last two minutes.

In the clutch, the Saints found the openings inside while the Gators missed a handful of layups.

The Gators (20-5) rallied to within six twice in the last six minutes -- the last on Amanda Foster's layup on an assist from Andrea Pinheiro with 2: 32 to go.

The Saints rallied when Terri Daniels hit Jodi Davidson under the basket and Catholic League Player of the Year Emily Lipton made a three-pointer from the top for a 49-38 edge with 1: 32 left.

The Gators resorted to fouling but the Saints made eight of 12 shots from the line in the final 1: 17.

The game actually turned in the first quarter when the Saints scored 13 unanswered points while the Gators did not get a rebound for more than four minutes. That gave the Saints a 17-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

"We couldn't rebound with them in the first half. That was the difference," said Gators coach Jim Stromberg, whose team was outrebounded 22-13 in the half and 40-30 in the game.

Lipton said the Saints wanted to make an early move. "We were definitely prepared for this game," said Lipton, whose team split with the Gators during the regular season. "They came out with the same defense they did the first time when they beat us and we knew how to beat it."

Lipton led the Saints with 16 points while Davidson added 13 and Daniels had 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Foster led the Gators with eight points.

Mercy definitely had the easier route to the title game, thanks to a coin flip that gave it the top seed over Seton Keough. The Magic just had too many weapons for the Patriots (18-7) to counter.

Jamie Vogtman, a 5-foot-11 sophomore forward, had another outstanding outing in leading the Magic with 18 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks.

Vogtman scored eight in an 11-4 Magic run to end the first quarter with a 23-14 edge. Five different Magic players scored in a 13-2 blitz to open the second quarter and run the lead to 20. Late in the third quarter, the Magic had extended its lead to as many as 27.

Cohen had 14 points, 10 assists and seven steals and Ashlee Courter added 13 points.

Jen Westervelt led the Patriots with 17 points and nine rebounds while Sarah Oktavec added 12 and Britney Whitehurst 10.

* Gwynn Lake 58, CHEN 41: Dena McGriff scored 12 as No. 5 Gwynn Lake (25-4) defeated CHEN (20-6) in the final of the CSAA Tournament at Annapolis Area CS. CHEN's Becky Shive led all scorers with 19.

Pub Date: 3/02/97

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